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[sticky post] Notes to Self about Writing Life

1. Just be yourself. Don't schmooze, don't obssess, don't get weird, don't get all theater. It's served you well, being yourself all this time. Stick with it.

2. Just write. Keep at it steadily, keep at it carefully. Do it conscientiously, do it to the best of your ability.

3. See number one again, especially when you feel insecure about number 2.

4. Believe you have a story to tell. Then don't put it off. Tell it.

5. Accept that some people will like your work, some people will not like your work, and that's okay. You write because you have a story to tell. It's nice if someone will read your story, but if they don't, well, not everyone in the world or even the Western hemisphere is going to read your story. And that is okay.

6. Writing can change the world, but is not the most important job anyone will ever have on the planet. You are not telling deep truths about the universe. You are telling a story. Get over yourself.

7. See number one and number three again, just in case you need a reality check. Never believe your own press.

8. Keep doing something you enjoy that keeps you in touch with people and makes you feel that you are making a contribution to the world, because you can turn into a mushroom if you're writing only. A strange, weird, psychologically fungal mushroom, I might add. And then you might drink.

9. Do not pass judgment on the writing of others. Do not compare your writing to the writing of others. You can have opinions about things you read, but unless you are asked, you might want to keep them to yourself, especially where other writers are concerned. Play nice.

10. Expect others to play nice with you. Avoid pseudo intellectuals and non constructive critics. Hell, you don't need them. You have your worst critic, yourself, to contend with already.

11. The industry is not the measure of your success. Attention is not the measure of your success. Of course you want to send your work out, make smart marketing decisions, and try to share. The measure of your success is stories written and sent. You can't convince the world it wants your work, but you certainly can't do anything at all unless you're telling stories.

12. Realize that success in writing, like success in anything, is really more about persistance than anything else. Write, learn to market selectively and well, and then market selectively and well. There will be a learning curve. You will battle obscurity. You will make mistakes and get rejections. BUT eventually you'll have enough circulating and people will know who you are, and you'll learn the tricks, and your writing will line up with someone's taste, and more and more things will be accepted.

13. See 1, 3, and 7 again, especially in moments of personal angst.

14. See 2 and 4 again, especially in moments of procrastination.

15. See 4, 5, 9, and 11 again, especially in moments where you lack faith.

16. See 5, 9, and 10 to remind yourself of grace.

17. See 6, 7 and 10 to remind yourself that you're not curing cancer.

18. See 8 to maintain your balance.

19. See 12 when you feel like giving it up.

20. If you're not satisified anymore, if it's causing you consternation, cease. Walk away. Writing is important. A happy life is much more important than that. Anything must give you joy for you to continue it. Don't settle.

Elizabeth Bear on Unreliable Narrators

This week's author spotlight at Unreliable Narrators is Elizabeth Bear. She's very entertaining, even though she's on Robitussin.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

The Year of Two Novels

I'm trying to post at Unreliable Narrators every couple of weeks, and here a couple of times each week. So, my post The Year of Two Novels just went up over there today.

If you're interested, go check it out. And if not, well, hey, you can always look at Bryon's models again.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Short Fiction at Unreliable Narrators

Both Chia Evers and I have short stories up at Unreliable Narrators. That's pretty much this update.

Also, I've been reading a boatload of comics, and if you haven't had a chance to check out The Gifted yet, you should.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Uber Plotting Plotting Spouse

It's a great pity that my spouse can't write. There are many reasons for this.

1. He's going to retire in 2 years, so he could get started making us millionaires 4-11 years sooner than I can.

2. He likes projects.

3. He's an uber plotting plotting spouse.


Bryon and I have been game masters of a variety of role playing games for a very long time. Like we're talking the 80s. Both of us are story oriented gms. I tend to go for emotional gut wrenching and intrigue. He is the master of surprise. He's had a lot of practice story telling.

Sometimes when all it feels like I'm doing in a story is emotional gut wrenching and there's no, I don't know, PLOT, I'll talk to Bryon. Two weekends ago, I took him to a coffee shop where we both didn't drink coffee (behold! the parameters of my new reflux life!) and he helped me figure out pretty much the main conflict of the current book, and how to tie what seemed like a disparate element in beautifully to the rest of the story.

Okay, okay, faithful readers. There are 4 tent pole scenes that are no longer Carlo's. But you'll appreciate the structure when I've done it. Honest.

I was like, wow. How did you do that? And he was like, that wasn't hard. And I was like, hey, why don't you write books? And he was like because I can't put words together. I can only come up with ideas.

And I thought yeah, but that doesn't stop a lot of people. But he's just not very interested in writing. He'd rather be putting together a massive Day of the Dead display for next year's Halloween. That's how we roll.

Don't worry. I already have purchased him a surprise of suitable appreciation.


Books coming along well, by the way, just in case you thought I'd abandoned writing for podcasting, which I absolutely have not. Although I loves me some podcasting.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Got a little behind this week, so I have two unreliable Narrators podcasts to tell you about.

Author Spotlight: J. Kathleen Cheney. This book comes out Tuesday. Get it.

Also, Jim Hines' Revisionary comes out Tuesday. Get it too.

Episode 11: Research and Writing. Hear about Saaa-tan?, amateur wrestling and Mata Hari's head.


I'm writing this weekend while my gaming buddies are gaming in the background. It took me a while to get started because the cpap didn't like my current location last night, but I'm at it now. Hope you're having a good weekend.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Here's the interview Chris Cornell did with Sahil Lavingia, president of Gumroad.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Once Upon a Time

I've watched three seasons of Once Upon a Time.

It started over Christmas break. The last half of the last season of Mad Men wasn't available, and Once Upon a Time was in my Netflix queue.

Hey, it's no Salem. I mean, for uber cheesy shows that I've watched this past year, Salem wins, hands down. What is both interesting and frustrating about Once Upon a Time is the roller coaster quality of the writing, and to a lesser extent, the acting. Some of it is just dreadful. Unlike Salem, which was B-movie fare from the get go, Once plunges fairly regularly into B-movie territory, with stilted dialogue and predictable plot devices, one-dimensional performances and just sheer groaning moments.

And yet...

Who would have thought that Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin would have the best plot lines? The character is addicted to the dark, but constantly trying to redeem himself for the others around him...except when he's not. He is like a bad alcoholic, except he's afraid to give up power in spite of the pieces of him that tell him he should. So, there's that.

I have this theory that the characters are in fact limited by their archetypes, and they can only interact with the real world in certain ways. By the time we get to season 3, Regina (the Wicked Queen), Snow White, and Prince Charming transcend that, but always go back to it.

Do I like the show? Well, I'm still watching it, and I'm still groaning at it. But yes, I do. Don't expect high brow entertainment, but do expect moments of it. And expect a great deal of fun. As an added bonus, you get to yell at the characters in frustration.

Season 5 is being broadcast now. I'm just about to begin Season 4.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

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